Interest in hybrid heat is on the rise as consumers look for more efficient, cost-effective heating for their homes. But what is hybrid heat? How does it work? Is it the right choice for your home? Here’s everything you need to know to get up to speed on hybrid heat and its advantages.
What is Hybrid Heating?
Hybrid heat uses two heating components that each use different sources of energy. One component is a traditional, gas-fueled furnace. The other is an electrically-run heat pump. A hybrid system switches between these two components to heat as efficiently as possible.
The heat pump looks and runs like a standard, central air conditioner, except it has a reverse mode that can also heat your home. It’s able to provide all the heat you may need in moderate temperatures in the spring and early fall without having to use your furnace. But, when the temps dip too low, your furnace kicks in to provide the extra heat you need.
5 Benefits of Hybrid Heating
Being able to switch between your heat pump and furnace can improve efficiency, convenience, and comfort. Here are five benefits of hybrid systems.
In general, heat pumps are more efficient than other heating systems because they don’t produce their own heat. Instead, they use the system’s refrigerant to transfer heat from the condensing unit (outside) into your home. That efficiency makes hybrid heating especially valuable in climates like the upper Midwest, where we can rely on it for some of our heating.
Because it’s so efficient, the heat pump can be used during the moderate months of the year, which will keep heating bills down. But, once the temperatures get too
low, the furnace will take over, and at that point is more cost effective to operate. It’s getting the best use of each type of energy, which will save you money in the long run.
The process is automatic – the thermostat / control system will switch between heat
pump and gas furnace when needed and back again as the outdoor conditions
change. Or if you want to manually switch over, you can with just the push of a
button or flip of a switch located on your thermostat.
A hybrid system provides extra reliability. With two systems to draw from, you’ll always have a heat source available. So if your furnace suddenly fails in mid-winter, you can switch over to the heat pump until you can get your furnace back up and running.
You’ll use less energy overall with a hybrid system, making your home more environmentally friendly. So, not only will you save on fuel costs, you’ll reduce your overall carbon footprint, helping out the environment at the same time.
Many electric utilities offer significant discounts on electric rates for heat pumps if
you are willing to allow them to turn off the heat pump (and turn on the gas
furnace) during “peak” periods - time periods when they are experiencing large
energy demands . It may require a separate electric meter and some additional
controls, but the savings can be considerable. The electric rate discount can be as
much as 30 or 40%, and there may be rebates on top of that. The off-peak periods
are usually infrequent and for short durations, and the controls are all automatic so
in many cases the home owner doesn’t even realize its happening.
The Best of Two Systems in One
Hybrid heating systems combine the best of a traditional furnace with the efficiency of a heat pump to provide more flexible, cost-effective heating. So, if you’re thinking of replacing an old HVAC system or upgrading your current system, you’ll want to consider hybrid heating.
Your HVAC professional can advise you on the best options for your home. Need to connect with a pro in your area? Use our convenient dealer locator.